Sodium caseinate is a protein obtained from skimmed milk. It is extracted through a process of precipitation with an acidic solution or an enzymatic coagulation. The caseins are then dried and sodium salts are added, resulting in sodium caseinate. It is widely used as an emulsifying, thickening and water-binding agent in various foods. Let’s take a detailed look at this important dairy ingredient.
What is Sodium Caseinate?
As mentioned earlier, sodium caseinate is produced from skimmed milk through processes like acid precipitation or enzymatic coagulation. The casein proteins in milk exist as colloidal calcium caseinate micelles. During production, these micelles are separated from the other milk components like whey and milk fat.Then, the casein is dissolved and precipitated from the solution by acidification or using rennet enzyme.
The precipitated casein is then dried into a powder. To improve its solubility, dissolution and function in foods, sodium salts like sodium phosphate or sodium citrate are added, resulting in the final product called sodium caseinate. It has a white or creamish color and dispersible, free-flowing powder-like texture.
Composition and Properties
Sodium caseinate is composed of around 90% protein content on a dry basis. The major proteins present are alpha-s, beta- and kappa-caseins. It also contains 2-8% moisture, 3-6% ash content and traces of lactose.
Some key properties of sodium caseinate include:
– Excellent water absorption and solubility
– Heat stability and prevents curdling at higher temperatures
– Good emulsifying ability and forms stable emulsions
– Thickening and viscosity-enhancing attributes
– Water binding capacity and impart creamy mouthfeel
– Film forming qualities which acts as protective colloids
– Easy to use as it disperses quickly in both cold and hot water
– Neutral taste and does not impact food flavors
These properties make it highly valuable as an ingredient in various food applications.
Uses of Sodium Caseinate
Given its versatile functionalities, Sodium Caseinate finds wide ranging uses in both dairy and non-dairy products. Some of its major applications include:
– Dairy Products: It is used for manufacturing processed cheese, cheese analogs, dairy-based desserts, non-dairy creamers, yogurt, ice-cream etc. Acts as an emulsifier, thickener, stabilizer and texture modifier.
– Meat Products: Adds texture and prevents fat separation in foods like sausages, patties, ham etc. Helps retain juices and water.
– Bakery Products: Acts as an anti-staling agent in breads. Improves volume, texture and shelf life. Used in cakes, pastries.
– Sauces and Dressings: Provides stability to emulsified sauces and dressings, prevents oil-water separation.
– Soy-based and Plant-based Products: Helps in manufacturing vegan cheese and dairy alternatives. Mimics casein functions.
– Infant Formulas: Acts as a major source of protein, helps in fat emulsification and water solubility.
– Nutritional and Healthcare Products: Used as a protein fortifying agent in nutrition bars, shakes, supplements etc.
Health and Safety
Sodium caseinate is generally recognized as safe for consumption by major international food regulatory bodies. However, people with dairy or casein protein allergies need to avoid it. The sodium content may not be suitable for those restricting their sodium intake. It provides excellent nutrition by supplying high-quality proteins, minerals and lowers cholesterol. With proper manufacturing practices, there are no major health risks associated with its use.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it